'My name is Martin Usborne. I am a dog lover and professional photographer from London. I've recently decided to take a year out from earning to help animals, in particular dogs, and intend to write a book about my experience. I've just come back from India where I've been working with stray dogs. I want to ask the question: what happens if you drop everything and decide to follow your heart?
I can't get the horrible pictures of the poor rejected galgos out of my head and wanted to double check if there was anything I could do as I believe January is the time of year when they suffer most. If you think I might be able to visit Spain on a short trip and write about the issue and if possible participate in some hands on rescue please let me know.'
The British have a reputation as animal lovers - considering the number of cruelty cases the RSPCA deal with, that statement is often questioned. But there is no doubt that when Brits move abroad to live, they find it difficult to ignore the plight of abandoned animals - dog, cats, horses, donkeys - and are drawn into helping these innocent abused souls.
This is the story of one such Brit who moved many years ago to live in Spain.
“My name is Carmen and I grew up in a village close to Seville in the South of Spain. I always liked animals (when I was a child I always wanted to have a cat). However, I never got any because “animals are not for homes but for the countryside”. I remember seeing galgueros riding a motorbike and pulling 5 or 6 galgos behind for training. This was a familiar picture, so it looked normal to me. I never asked myself why there were always different galgos from season to season. I cannot remember having wondered about the fate of those galgos I did not see anymore.'
Some of the galgos in the Villa del Rio are under the care and control of L'Europe des Levriers, the French association with whom I work closely and from whom I have adopted my 3 galgas, plus them helping me get my little Podenca Andaluz Bebe from Seville.
Some of their puppies in one bed died, but there are others - Noche, Jade, Scarlette, Pucca - Cristina, Vice President of EDL, went from Madrid down to Cordoba and brought back some of the dogs, who are now in kennels which need paying for.
Regular readers will know that wherever possible I praise the fantastic volunteers in Spain who give so much of their time and emotional and physical effort in helping the abandoned and mistreated animals, often at great cost to themselves.
So many stories continue to arrive in my Inbox, not just for help for galgos and podencos but other dogs as well. As I speak, efforts are being made by volunteers to catch a family of podencos, other galgos loose on the streets of several towns.....it is never ending.
This story is one example of a week in the life of a volunteer.
Last weekend I treated myself to a weekend away - no lying in the sunshine by the side of a pool for me - rather joining half a dozen more animal lovers at a retreat in the woods of the Limousin region of France, for a weekend of learning to talk with animals! Joanne Hull, known as the Pet Psychic, was the tutor and she made the subject thoroughly fascinating and enjoyable. We students even got to practice too.
'Psychic simply means using your intuition on a telepathic level, animal communication is the SIMPLE ability to listen, which to you and me means to become sensitive, to use our intuition, our gut feeling, giving our minds, hearts and souls the permission to fully experience what an animal sees, feels and senses.
Podenco Post is now launched. It will be run on the same lines as Galgo News - goodness knows how I'll find time to do paid writing!!! - so please support the podencos in the same way as you all support the galgos. As Podenco World says - The Great Forgotten.